India to Redo Voting at Polling Stations Hit by Violence

India’s election authorities have directed officials to redo voting at several polling places in the troubled northeastern state of Manipur, after armed men attacked polling stations and captured voting booths despite the presence of dozens of paramilitary soldiers.

The state of Manipur has endured ethnic conflict for months after a dispute erupted over who gets to claim a tribal status that grants extra privileges, for example preferential treatment in seeking government jobs.

The conflict, which began last May, has essentially split the region, home to about three million people, pitting two ethnic groups against each other: the mostly Hindu Meiteis, who form a narrow majority, and members of Christian hill tribes known as Kukis. More than 200 people have been killed, members of both groups. Thousands were internally displaced and still fear returning to places they once called home, seeking refuge in squalid camps.

The Election Commission of India said on Saturday that voting would be done again on Monday in 11 polling stations where voting had been held on Friday.

The order came after the region’s top election commissioner wrote to his agency describing mob violence, gunfire, damage to electronic voting machines and bogus voters entering the booths.

Video footage from the Inner Manipur constituency, one of the two seats in the state for the lower house of Parliament, showed mobs raiding a polling station and breaking electronic voting machines.

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